Your Fightin’ Texas Aggies, despite all odds (and I very much mean that), managed to find a way to beat the #13 ranked Miami Hurricanes in a low-scoring, absolutely terrifying game this evening at Kyle Field.
There’s a lot to break down...a lot good and a whole lot of bad, but let’s just take a minute to celebrate this gritty win given where we were last week. I really don’t know what the season will bring from here, but this was a step in the right direction. Let’s break it down
The Aggie defense was, yet again, out on the field for way too long, but somehow managed to get stops when they needed to. The key stat here is 3⁄4 in the red zone...I don't know if you want to call this bend but don't break, but our ability to somehow get stops enough to force Miami (force might be a kind word they perhaps should have gone for it a few times), made the difference.
Let’s talk about everything that went wrong. Smoke Bouie and Denver Harris were among 4 true freshmen who were suspended to start the game. Denver is a starter. So we’re down one guy. Then, veteran, Brian George gets hit with a targeting penalty. Down two guys. Then Stallworth and the heart of this defense Demani Richardson gets another targeting penalty. Down three guys. Then late in the game, everyone’s All-American Antonio Johnson gets dinged up and misses a few plays.
Despite ALL of that...this secondary played well. Bryce Anderson stepped up in Demani’s place and was flying to the ball. Jaylon Jones, in his first game back, played incredibly well, including getting the final stop to seal it. Tyreek Chappell, Jardin Gilbert...we had a ton of guys make plays.
The Front 6 Struggled a bit. Some of that is the scheme with Durkin stubbornly sticking with a 3 man front, and some of it is the continuation of last week where we got pushed around. But Albert Regis had another fine game, and the Linebackers flashed to make some good plays.
We need this defense to be elite. They weren't quite elite tonight, but they were really really good.
Special teams were another difference maker tonight. Handsome Aussie Punter Nik Constantinou had 6 kicks and averaged 45 yards a kick, pinning the Canes inside their 20 3 times.
7 of our (paltry) 17 points were scored on a short drive after a recovered muffed punt resulting from a huge hit from Demani Richardson.
Achane started the game with a great long kick return.
And Ainias made us all lose 10 years off of our life by almost fumbling. BUT HE GOT IT BACK!
There are a lot of bad things I could say about this offense...some of it was not their fault. Being without starting WRs Chris Marshall and Evan Harris—the two dudes who have proven the ability to get open up field...wasn't a good start. But even them aside, we’ve got some questions.
But let’s focus on a few good things. After putting the final nail in the coffin of the 2021 Aggie Football Season Max Johnson kept this team alive a bit by a 10/20 for 140 game with 1 TD. Not great, but he took care of the ball and made plays when he needed to.
Devon Achane had 18 carries for 88 yards, and really was the key thing that made this offense go.
It was also great to see guys like Max Wright and Bryce Foster back in the line up.
There are so so many questions and concerns about this offense and Jimbo’s role in coordinating it that came up last week (and the week before) that haven't been answered...but I don't know. I’m gonna enjoy this moment and think about that other stuff later.
We can't forget that Miami was a top 15 team coming into this game. We beat a ranked team at Kyle Field at night. We have a long way to go if we hope to be competitive with the Razorbacks next week, but given the week we’ve had? I’ll take this one and be happy.